Album Review: Scott Matthews – The Great Untold

12+ years on from his critically acclaimed debut, Scott Matthews continues to be one of the go to singer/songwriters for earthy, tranquil, folk soundscapes – built around his expressive falsetto vocal. As per the continued direction of the previous couple of albums, this new record – his 6th to date, is stripped back in instrumentation – generally just warm guitar and piano accompaniment, allowing the voice and strong song-writing to shine through.

Impending parenthood and life changes forms a good chunk of the influence for the writing, which is how the album kicks off – the title tracking serving almost as a conversation with his unborn child. Sparse in arrangement and featuring the layered vocals which is so synonymous with Matthews sound.

Track two, titled ‘Lawless Stars’ is actually the highlight for me. A bigger sound than the vast majority of the album due to the use of electric guitar – it’s dark, brooding vocal and almost two minute instrumental at the end give it a progressive feel.

The single from the album, ‘Cinnamon’ is a more conventional piece however still weaved together with the expressive harmony vocal backed by picked electric guitar and effects. The conjured pictures Matthews use of poetic lyrics provides the listener is in evidence here – ‘starlings murmurate like clouds of cinders up in smoke’ just one of numerous imaginative lines in this song.

I guess you could call this record sparse, for it certainly is more minimal than previous offerings, however none the less engaging. It’s a good listen and as with all well written pieces, grows on your with time. It’s also a testament to the troubadour like life of quality singer/songwriters, that even though Matthews hasn’t received the radio backing in recent years his earlier work suggested he would – he’s still pushing the boundaries of creative writing.

– SPRING TOUR 2018 –
April 28 – Revelation | Ashford, United Kingdom
May 1 – Norwich Arts Centre | Norwich, United kingdom
May 3 – The Globe | Cardiff, United Kingdom
May 4 – Union Chapel | London, United Kingdom
May 5 – Philharmonic Music Room | Liverpool, United Kingdom
May 6 – Band on the Wall | Manchester, United Kingdom
May 8 – The Cluny | Newcastle, United Kingdom
May 9 – Broadcast | Glasgow, United Kingdom
May 10 – The Voodoo Rooms | Edinburgh, United Kingdom
May 11 – Brudenell Social Club | Leeds, United Kingdom
May 15 – SJE Arts | Oxford, United Kingdom
May 16 – The Lantern | Bristol, United Kingdom
May 17 – The Minack Theatre | Penzance, United Kingdom
May 20 – St Paul’s Church | Birmingham, United Kingdom
May 23 – The Sugar Club | Dublin, Republic of Ireland
May 25 – Guildhall | Winchester, United Kingdom
May 26 – Quay Arts | Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
May 31 – The Greystones | Sheffield, United Kingdom

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Review by Phil Daniels